Brian Banks uninspires critics

Noah Lenkin
staff writer

The movie Brian Banks, in theaters now, is about is Brian Banks, a 17-year-old who was on his way to NFL stardom when a wrongful rape conviction ended his dream and led to five years behind bars. Aldis Hodge stars as Brian Banks, and Greg Kinnear stars as Justin Brooks, the lawyer helping Banks.

The movie chronicles Banks’s journey to prove his innocence and the struggles and obstacles that he faced along the way. It also talks about the help he received to achieve his goal.

The theme of the movie is to stay committed to your goal and never give up. Even though the justice system failed Banks over and over again, he didn’t lose faith and kept working to be freed. This astonishing perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds inspires us to overcome obstacles in our own lives that we feel like we will never accomplish.

The movie has not done well critically or commercially, as it was a box office bomb, costing $10 million to make and only getting $4.3 million in profits. Rotten Tomatoes said, “While it remains a reasonably inspiring drama, Brian Banks may have presented a more complex or fully realized version of the real life story it dramatizes.”

However, the movie is worth watching because it draws you into the story and makes you root for Banks.

The actor who plays Banks’s mom, Sherri Shepherd, is amazing as she displays the anguish Banks’s mom felt at losing her son to prison and the helplessness from a mother’s perspective of not being able to help her son.

The plot is also concise, and throughout the movie I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next.

The movie opens with Banks struggling to find work as a convicted felon and having an ankle bracelet that restricts him from going within 2000 feet of schools and public gathering spots.

Initially, Banks writes a plea of habeas corpus after getting advice from the California Innocence Project, a group that works to get felons cleared of crimes they did not commit.

Throughout the movie, Banks faces setbacks like his initial habeas corpus pleas being rejected, and no one willing to take up the case, but he does not let these obstacles derail him.

Since the DNA evidence was not used in the original trial, it could not be used at a new trial. Innocence Project lawyers interview Banks’ former classmates, but their word is not strong enough to put doubt on Banks’ guilt.

Banks is able to record his accuser admitting she lied about the alleged rape, and this dramatic moment is one of the highlights of the film.

Despite negative reviews from critics, this inspiring movie is well worth your time. Also, if you are interested in the law, especially the appeals process, you would enjoy this movie because you see how the process can help and hurt people.

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